What do I spend my days doing? I go to coffee, grocery shop, lunch with the ladies, maybe visit a garden, street shopping, take Mandarin lessons and visit the many kinds of markets in China. When you see something you like, you can almost bet it was bought at a market. I have been venturing out to as many different types of markets I can. Markets are also the best places to hone your bargaining skills.
This is probably one of my favorite places to visit. I love all the fruit and vegetable stands, seeing the new items we don't have in the US. I also buy my eggs here. I enjoy the smile from my "egg man" when he sees me walking up. My "veggie lady" is also very cute. She always offers free green onions and cilantro and holds your bags for you until you done shopping.
This is a dress I copied at the market. I picked the fabric, left the dress with the shop and they copied the dress and sent it to me.
A picture from inside the fabric market. It was four floors of little shops. There is also a fabric market here in Suzhou, but I have yet to make it there. Clif would like to have a few nice things made before we leave as well.
I wasn't brave enough to bargain for any of the "best quality" fresh water pearl necklaces, so I stuck with the imperfect dyed pearls for my first trip. There are pearl markets in many different cities. I went to the Suzhou Pearl Market which was two building, three stories each. You can buy premade items, have items copied, or design your own jewelry. I enjoyed seeing all the different colored strands, choosing ones I liked and having them strung together. Besides pearls you can find jade and other gems.
I have been to flea markets in Suzhou and neighboring Wuxi. I have also been to a "high class" flea market in Shanghai. In Suzhou the flea market was 7 buildings of multiple levels. You can find nearly anything. The Wuxi flea market was more like a small village. Just this past week I snagged a Mahjong set at the Shanghai market. Now I just need someone to teach me how to play!
This is the insert for the vase above. While it doesn't appear to be hand painted, I found it to be a lovely addition to my empty cabinet in the living room. Since this buy I have nearly filled the cabinet possibly signally an end for my need to shop. Other flea market purchases include rugs, bowls, onesies, air fresheners for the sometimes stinky floor drain in our kitchen, and of course some goodies to bring home!
Flower Market: Check
This past weekend we visited Shanghai. One of our stops was the flower market. While I didn't buy anything here, there were all kinds of plants and fresh cut flowers. This market was attached to an aquatic market filled with fish to purchase and the reason for our stop, a fishing supply store. Suzhou has what we call "Plant Street," but it really is just a plant market.
I have walked through a pet market, which is a sad sight. Probably the only thing of interest in the pet market are the huge crickets in tiny cages. Evidently, cricket fighting is a past time in China. I have never actually seen a cricket fight, but was curious about the sale of crickets after I saw them and did a little reading on-line. We tried to take a picture of them, but were shooed away and told no pictures.
Markets I have yet to visit include the copy markets, where you can buy all your fake Coach bags and Rolex watches, the science and technology market and the children's market. I am sure there are many more I have yet to learn about!